MUSCLE SHOALS, ALA. — Northwest-Shoals Community College (NW-SCC) has been selected as the winner of the Alabama Governor’s Seal of Excellence in Work-Based Learning for the Power 5 Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) apprenticeship program.
“It is a tremendous honor to receive the Governor’s Seal of Excellence in Work-Based Learning,” said NW-SCC President Dr. Jeff Goodwin. “Our work-based learning team does a tremendous job of partnering with area businesses and industry to develop programs, like the Power 5, to get our students plugged directly into the workforce.”
NW-SCC began the Power 5 program in January 2020. It is the first registered, competency-based HVAC apprenticeship in Alabama. At the time of its inception, the Power 5 program had 22 apprentices, all of whom were placed in work-based learning during the first semester, and eight pre-apprentices completing the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) credential in their high schools.
HVAC Instructor Randy Corsbie works directly with industry partners to train students and place apprentices in the field. “The HVAC industry in our area has needed a program like this for several years,” stated Corsbie. “It has been amazing to work with our industry partners to help build a program that has filled immediate workforce needs in the HVAC industry. We have experienced tremendous growth in the program and I believe it will continue to increase.”
In its first year, the HVAC program experienced an enrollment increase of 72% in one year. Student participation in the Power 5 program continues to grow. The program currently has 38 apprentices, 3 pre-apprentices, and 12 applicants. The flexibility of the program gives students previously disconnected from post-secondary education an opportunity to start or continue their education while earning a competitive wage. Apprentices range in age from 18 to 60.
During the transition to remote work and learning due to the COVID 19 pandemic, no Power 5 apprentice lost any work opportunities. Corsbie utilized FaceTime, video chat platforms, and messaging applications to observe students in the field and provide instant feedback while students completed installation and repair calls. “I feel like this really helped our students learn to adapt,” said Corsbie. “In the field you face all kinds of problems that you are not expecting, this helped them learn that first-hand while they were still in school.”
For more information about the Power 5 program at NW-SCC, visit https://www.nwscc.edu/power5.